Nicola Sturgeon has issued a rallying cry to those opposed to the “extreme Brexit championed by the right-wing of the Tory party” to “make a stand”.
The first minister, who met the prime minister in Westminster last night, said there had to be recognition that a “workable alternative is urgently needed” if Theresa May’s deal is defeated in the Commons.
And she vowed to join with other parties to secure an extension to the Article 50 process to allow time to find a different solution.
But a Downing Street spokesman warned the SNP leader against “risking a no-deal Brexit or going back to square one of negotiations”.
Their meeting came ahead of five days of debate on the withdrawal agreement and political declaration which will culminate in a vote next week.
Speaking afterwards, Ms Sturgeon, who revealed the SNP plans to lay an amendment to the meaningful vote motion, said she told the prime minister there must not be a “false choice between her proposed deal and a no-deal outcome”.
She added: “Instead, there must be a recognition that – if the PM’s deal is defeated in the Commons as is widely expected – then a workable alternative is urgently needed.
“That means there should be an extension to the Article 50 process, and we will join with those from other parties in trying to secure such an extension.”
The first minister added: “With the UK Government’s own published figures now making clear that any kind of Brexit would make us all poorer, the time has come for all those who oppose the extreme Brexit championed by the right-wing of the Tory party to come together and make a stand.”
The Downing Street spokesman said Mrs May talked about the support she had received from fishermen, farmers and business leaders, including Sir Ian Wood.
He said they “back the deal as it gives them the clarity and certainty they need to protect jobs and living standards”.
He added: “The prime minister urged the first minister to listen to these voices in their support of the deal as opposed to risking a no-deal Brexit or going back to square one of negotiations.”